Wedding Ceremony - Unity Candles - How would family members do the ceremony

How would a unity candle best be handled when there is a mother, father & step-mother on the brides side, and a mother and step-father on the grooms?


Frankly, there are times when some traditions are best just eliminated from the ceremony, rather than trying to figure out a way to include too
many people graciously.  You'll need to weigh the importance of this portion of the ceremony against any likely complications.

Most often at the weddings I've attended, the unity candle is lit by the mothers of the bride and groom.  This could be done in this case, too.
Certain honors and privileges are reserved for "biological" mothers, like seating in the front pew, entering the church last before the processional, etc.

Sometimes fathers are included in unity candles, but more often in my experience they are not.  If the father of the bride will escort the bride in, that's certainly a large honor for him.  And if he and the bride's mother will in unison "give away" the bride at the question "who gives..." (answering together, We do), the step-mother could perhaps also stand and join in this, too.

If the stepmother feels "left out", then I think it would be easier to give her some other honor, rather than trying to somehow include her in
the unity candle.

On the other hand, if it seems too troublesome to include the mothers and not the step=mother, another option is to have the unity ceremony,
but have the candles lit either when guests enter the ceremony-- or by some other two people altogether, rather than the mothers.

It's a judgment call, unfortunately, rather than a strict etiquette situation. But I hope that these comments are of some help to you.

Best wishes--

Sara L. Ambarian --Staff expert--
author of "A Bride's Touch: A Handbook of Wedding Personality and Inspiration"/
creative consultant/custom bridal designer 
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